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Full text of "A history of Persia"

STRUGGLE IN THE PERSIAN GULF   273
we saw a superb reservoir, an oval forty feet high and
fifty feet long, with a passage encircling it about twenty
feet above the bottom ; it was, however, empty. A final
rise brought us to the summit of the fort, some sixty feet
above the ground level. There, overlooking the ruined
city, was all that was left of a sumptuous palace, while
numerous cannon lying about bore mute witness to the
stormy past."l
The Beginning of English Maritime Intercourse with the
East.—English intercourse with India may be said to date
from the defeat of the Spanish Armada, which stimulated
our ancestors to an extraordinary degree. Within a year
of the passing of the Spanish peril, a body of English
merchants memorialized Queen Elizabeth, who readily
granted the permission they desired to trade with India.
The pioneer efforts failed but the practicability of the
scheme was proved, and a successful voyage to Bantam
by the first Dutch expeditio^Jncreased the general interest,
which culminated in the grant of a Charter of Incorpora-
tion to the " Governor and Company of Merchants of
London trading into the East Indies/'
The first expedition of the new company started in
A.p. 1601, under the eminent seaman James Lancaster,
and two years later it returned with a rich freight, includ-
ing one million pounds weight of pepper. The vicissitudes
of these early voyages and of the merchants engaged in
them are recorded in Letters received by the East India
Company? and we learn from them how intercourse was
opened up with Persia.
The First English Attempt to Trade with Persia by Sea,
A.D. 1614.—When the English factors first visited the
Moghul- Court, their broad cloth sold well, and a large
quantity was ordered from England. But when this
arrived it had ceased to be a novelty, and as there was
little demand a new market was sorely needed. The
Chief Factor had learned from an Englishman named
1   Ten Thousand Miles, etc^ p. 288.
2  These volumes have been mainly edited by W. Foster, the gifted Registrar of the
India Office, and the series has been continued in the English Factories in India.    Foster
has also edited The Embassy of Sir Thomas Roe to India, which contains  an excellent
account of the opening up of trade with Persia.    I have also consulted the Calendar of
State Papers, ed. by Noel Sainsbury.
VOL. II                                                                                                     T